Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of ISAKOS



The purpose of this study is to compare early postoperative recovery following open and arthroscopic-assisted latissimus dorsi tendon (aa-LDT) transfer to arthroscopic-assisted lower trapezius tendon (aa-LTT) transfer for patients with massive irreparable posterosuperior rotator cuff pathology.


A multicentre retrospective analysis comparing the postoperative outcomes after open LDT, arthroscopic-assisted LDT (aa-LDT) or arthroscopic-assisted LTT (aa-LTT) was performed. Active range of motion and patient-reported subjective outcomes were reported preoperatively and postoperatively. Overall, there were 10 patients who underwent open LDT transfer, 16 aaLDT transfers and 8 aa-LTT transfers with mean age of 55±3, 57±6 and 53±13, respectively. Mean follow-up was 22±10 months.


Arthroscopic-assisted LDT had significantly improved postoperative forward flexion (85–124, p<0.003) and external rotation (29–38, p<0.005), whereas aa-LTT had significantly improved postoperative forward flexion (101–146, p<0.04). Arthroscopic-assisted LDT and aa-LTT transfers improved American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) Shoulder Function scores and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation (SANE) at 2 years (p<0.03). Arthroscopic-assisted LTT compared with open LDT demonstrated significantly improved ASES Shoulder Index score (20.0 vs 12.6; 84.8 vs 55.6) and visual analogue scale (VAS) (0.66 vs 4.14; 1.17 vs 3.88) at postoperative 6 months and 2 years, respectively. Arthroscopic-assisted LDT transfer compared with open LDT had improved VAS at 6 months (0.66 vs 2.11, p<0.05). In total, 6 (17.6%) complications were noted. These included two infections with Cutibacterium acnes, two axillary nerve injuries, complex regional pain syndrome and a postsurgical adhesive capsulitis.


Arthroscopic-assisted LDT and aa-LTT transfers provided improvement in pain and function at 2-year follow-up. The aa-LTT transfer provided significantly improved outcomes at 2 years compared with the open-LDT (latissimus dorsi tendon transfer) transfer. This study demonstrates superiority of arthroscopic-assisted tendon transfer techniques over traditional open techniques while establishing the aa-LTT transfer as a safe and effective alternative in the management of massive irreparable rotator cuff tears.



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shoulder, rotator cuff, tendon, tears, outcome studies